Posts Tagged 'Co2'

SERIOUS MONDAY: NEW GREEN CODE FOR DATE CENTRES

 

datacentre

As more and more people begin to use computers and the internet, the amount of energy needed to power them all is growing on a daily basis.

So it’s good to hear that the UK government is supporting a new European code of conduct for Data Centres.

Many organisations now have data centres – rooms or building where their computer servers are based – and they are used for everything from websites to financial transactions or online gaming. 

Currently, data centres account for almost three per cent of total electricity used in the UK – and this figure is expected to double within the next few years.

Ministers are urging data centre operators to adopt the code and Lord Hunt, Minister for Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation, says: “If we are to tackle dangerous climate change, we need to reduce emissions and the decision businesses make plays a key role in meeting this challenge. 

By signing up to the code, companies can save energy and save money too, which goes to show that what’s good for the environment is good for business.”

The code was developed in collaboration with industry bodies including the British Computer Society (BCS). 

Those signing up to it will have to implement best practice for energy efficiency, put minimum purchasing standards into place and report their energy use each year.  It is likely to lead to actions like the decommissioning of older servers, reducing air conditioning and maximising server use by running  multiple applications.

It is hoped the code will help to save almost five million tonnes of C02 over the next six years –  equivalent to taking more than a million cars off the road.

Already, a number of major organisations have hinted that they plan to adopt the code – including BT, Microsoft and Quest Software.

More information on the new code is available from Defra here.

Susan

SERIOUS MONADY: SAVE A TONNE OF CO2 CAMPAIGN

Like most people, I hate receiving envelopes from my energy supplier because it’s inevitably a bill.

But today was different for millions of consumers. Not a bill but a letter inviting them to join the 2012 Carbon Challenge being launched by EDF Energy.

It wants customers to save a tonne of C02 – and save cash – by signing up to the challenge and a free training programme to help reduce energy use. To encourage people to take part it has a range of prizes to give away – including a hybrid car and a day out with an Olympian.

There’s a special website here and its challenge meter suggests that almost 100,000 people have signed up already.  No doubt EDF is hoping that consumers who buy their power elsewhere might be tempted to switch when they join the campaign – but it’s still a great idea.

We need many more incentives like this to drive home the energy saving message ….  just a pity that EDF has a track record of promoting nuclear power. It has a host of nuclear power stations in its home country, France and is apparently keen to see us follow suit in the UK.

And, an interesting titbit from Nuclear Spin …. apparently Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s brother, Andrew, is head of publicity for EDF !

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: COULD THE UK GET ALL ITS POWER FROM SCOTLAND?

Scotland’s first minister claims that Scotland could produce enough power from renewable resources to provide electricity for the whole of the UK.

Speaking at a conference in the USA, Alex Salmond said he wants Scotland to become a global advocate for renewable energy and he announced that the Scottish government is putting an incredible £10 million towards a worldwide prize for innovation in marine-generated power from waves or tides.

But there are strings attached to the huge Saltire Prize – the winning entrant must have developed the solution in Scotland.

Mr Salmond says Scotland may be a small nation but it doesn’t need to think small and it has the potential from renewables to create more than 10 times its peak energy demand.

There are already many renewable projects in Scotland. Check out plans for this one – which people in Fintry are keen to take part in.

Meanwhile, it has just been announced that the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2% in 2007, keeping it on track to meet Kyoto Protocol targets.

The reduction has been attributed to lower fossil fuel consumption by both household and industry and the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “That’s 11 million tonnes less CO2 from the UK in the atmosphere. But we need to do more, and we need to make absolutely certain that we will deliver the reductions we need.”

He said we still need to see major changes across the whole of the UK economy if we are to meet the ambitious emissions reduction targets set in the Climate Change Bill.

And to help in this, the government will develop carbon markets and promote the development of low carbon technology, while continuing to work to get international agreement on global emissions targets.”
Susan hunt

SERIOUS MONDAY: NEW FEARS OVER CHINA’S CO2 POLLUTION

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Experts fear that C02 produced by China could quickly wipe out savings in greenhouse gas emissions agreed under the Kyoto protocol.

Under the protocol, developed countries have pledged to reduce C02 emissions by a massive 116 million metric tons between now and 2012.

But researchers in the USA say they fear that China is producing far more carbon dioxide than previously thought and this could radically undermine global aims to stabilize greenhouse gases.

China has been ranked as the globe’s second-largest emitter of CO2 but some recent studies suggest that it might now hold the top spot, having overtaken the United States last year.

And university researchers in California have predicted that China’s CO2 emissions will grow by at least 11% per year until 2010.

They believe that by then, China’s emissions will have increased by 600 million tonnes – making the 116 m tonnes saving proposed under Kyoto look pretty small.

A professor at UC Berkeley involved in the study, says:  “It had been expected that the efficiency of China’s power generation would continue to improve as per-capita income increased, slowing down the rate of CO2 emissions growth.

“But what we’re finding is that the emissions growth rate is surpassing our worst expectations, and that means the goal of stabilizing atmospheric CO2 is going to be much, much harder to achieve.”

According to their report, part of the problem involves the decision to give Chinese provinces more say in building power plants in 2000.

While wealthier coastal provinces have gone for the best technology, many poorer provinces have copied inefficient 1950s Russian technology. Once built, these power stations are expected to have a lifetime of at least 40 years.

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARK FOR BUILDINGS’ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

A new environmental code is being launched this week to help British businesses play a part in combating climate change.

The initiative, backed by the employers organisation, the CBI, as well as major companies like Barclays and BP will be unveiled in London on Tuesday.

It will provide a single international benchmark that will allow organisations to assess the environmental impact of their buildings.

Experts say that corporate property is responsible for around a fifth of global CO2 emissions, mainly via energy use (but also through waste and water production) and around half of companies’ CO2 emissions are thought to be down to their real estate.
Richard Lambert of the CBI says research has shown that buildings represent one of the largest areas of potential in cutting UK carbon emissions.

The environment code aims to go further than just addressing energy efficiency, by providing an internationally recognised system for organisations to use in offices all over the world.

The code has been formulated by the Investment Property Databank, which provides the benchmark for valuations in the industry.

IPD spokesman, Christopher Hedley, says: “If companies don’t know how they are performing, they don’t know how they can improve. Things like DECs [display energy certificates] and energy performance certificates are so complicated they are a turnoff.
“We want to create a measurement framework simple enough that companies can take it to the management and say, ‘This is how we need to improve’.”

Companies can sign up to the code voluntarily and Hedley said the Treasury division that co-ordinates the government’s estate, has expressed an interest in signing up to the code. The office oversees 160 million sq ft of space across the country.

He said there has also been strong interest from universities and colleges  which occupy another 430m sq ft across the UK, and from private companies occupying 270m sq ft.
The  code will provide a relatively simple template for the collection, measurement and analysis of environmental information from real estate. It is designed to work alongside local building regulations, but because it can be applied anywhere in the world corporate occupiers can assess their global environmental impact.

And Mr Hedley predicts that those adopting the code will benefit from higher value buildings in the future.  “We already have quite a few corporate clients who only go into certain buildings that are environmentally responsible,” said Mr Hedley.

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: PROMOTION OF URBAN CYCLING

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With a little luck, 2008 could become known as the year of the bike.

London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, has already announced a massive cycling investment of £500 million over the next decade as part of the capital’s drive to help to cut pollution and congestion.

He is aiming for a cycling and walking transformation of the capital  and the investment will see  a new network of quick, simple, and safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians along with a new bike hire scheme.

This promises 6,000 bikes with availability every 300 metres – making  cycling accessible to many more Londoners.

There will also be new commuter cycle routes from inner and outer London and cycle zones around urban town centres.

The new measures are designed to give both cyclists and pedestrians a much higher priority in London and make a major contribution to tackling climate change.
The plan is to have at least one in 10 Londoners making a round trip by bike each day which would save around 1.6m tonnes of C02 – roughly equivalent to driving around the M25 about 55 million times!

If all goes to plan, we should expect to see traffic scenes like this

and this

in the UK in years to come 
Don’t you just love the bike-pushing-prams ?

Meanwhile,  Bike for All, which is supported by Cycling England, is searching for Britain’s first ‘cycling city’ and 10 new cycling towns.

The contest, which runs until the end of March, gives local councils the chance to bid for a share of £47 million set aside for new demonstration towns.

This is just part of a nationwide investment of £140 million for  cycling announced by the government in January.

The winners of the Bike for All competition will join six existing demonstration areas   Aylesbury, Exeter, Lancaster with Morecambe, Brighton and Hove and Derby and Darlington which have pioneered local projects such as building or redesigning local cycle routes and training people to cycle safely.

Bike for All says that by 2012  the expanded network of cycling towns and cities could save 16 million car journeys a year and create an extra 47 million cycle journeys – equivalent to a seven percent increase in national cycling levels.

As well as being great for the environment since they produce zero pollution, bikes can also help to tackle Britain’s growing obesity problem and improve the nation’s health.

Experts say that cyclists enjoy a level of fitness equal to that of a person 10 years younger and they believe heart disease rates could fall by up to 10% if a third of all short journeys were made by bike.

And if you need any further convincing, you can buy a bike for a tiny fraction of the price of a car and it requires no tax disc, insurance or fuel.

You can park it anywhere so no more expensive car parking charges and in the city rush hour  a bike can be almost twice as fast as a car!

To find out the basics about buying a bike and taking to the road on two wheels, check out this website.

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: UK BAN ON PATIO HEATERS?

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A campaign has been launched to ban outdoor patio heaters in the UK because of the environmental damage they are causing.

But are they really having a major effect on our carbon emissions – or is everyone just jumping aboard the latest green bandwagon?

According to Friends of the Earth, which is supporting an EU ban on the heaters,
patio heaters “waste energy and inflict unnecessary damage on the environment.”

Some major retailers such as B&Q have already said that when stocks run out they will no longer be selling the heaters which have taken off in a big way over the past two or three years.

It is thought that around 1.2 million domestic patio heaters are currently in use in the UK – although MTP (which provides data for the government) puts the figure at a more conservative 630,000.

Following the UK smoking ban last summer, pubs and restaurants all over the country invested in outdoor heaters and industry experts claim that if the heaters are banned, the sector could lose millions of pounds because fewer people will eat and drink there in cold weather.

So, how bad are patio heaters in terms of environmental damage? Do they actually emit more C02 than many household appliances currently in use based on the relatively small number of annual hours they are in use?

I decided a little investigation was called for – and, sure enough, the figures just don’t seem to stack up.

According to Calor Gas, a typical patio heater emits 35kg of C02 per year. The Energy Saving Trust puts it at 50kg per year – but either of these figures is a drop in the ocean compared with a whole host of household appliances.

Proponents of the ban say it makes no sense to try to heat the great outdoors – but what right have they to ban people from enjoying their garden on a cold night?

I don’t have a patio heater (not at the moment anyway) but from these figures, it looks like people will be causing less environmental damage sitting outside with a patio heater than those indoors.

There’s Joe Bloggs sipping a glass of wine and listening to the wind in the trees (with his patio heater emitting just 35kg of C02 PER YEAR) while millions more are sitting indoors in t-shirts with the heating turned up full blast watching their energy-guzzling plasma TVs.

In 2006, scientists warned that if half of British homes buy a plasma-screen TV, two nuclear power stations would be needed to meet the extra energy demand. But when did you last hear someone talk about banning plasma TVs … or washer/dryers or airline flights taken simply for pleasure? Maybe we should ban outdoor lights. What a waste of time trying to light the great outdoors at night 

And don’t forget, if the millions sitting indoors at night all turned down their heating thermostat by just half a degree, they’d each save 907kg of C02 per year.

What’s next? People reporting their neighbours for not hanging out their washing, meaning they are using an electric dryer which emits 635kg of C02 every year?

Compared with our other extravagances, patio heaters are among the least of our worries – and mountains and molehills definitely spring to mind.

We don’t need legislation against patio heaters – we need a well thought-out campaign to educate the public about their lifestyles as a whole and how they can save energy and reduce CO2.

If you have the time – it’s a long video – check out this guy’s calculations.


In a nutshell, he says that if one patio heater warms ten people (who would otherwise be at home using ten households full of electrical appliances) then a million heaters should prevent 10 million households from wasting energy.

Finally, since experts reckon that planting a native tree can save masses of CO2, why not just ask pubs to plant a tree outside. As well as offsetting the CO2 from their patio heater in winter, it will provide drinkers with some welcome shade during the summer.

Susan